Anya Kamenetz

For Traumatized Children, An Offer Of Help From Sesame Street in Communities

Cookie Monster is all wound up. The Count has him hold up his furry blue fingers, count them (of course), and blow on each one in turn as if he were blowing out a birthday candle. Afterward, Cookie declares, in his familiar growly voice, that he feels much better.
“Hey! Me feel terrific! Me calm. Me relaxed.”

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How Teachers And Schools Can Help When Bad Stuff Happens

Fred Rogers, the beloved children’s television host, used to tell a story about when he would see scary things in the news as a child. His mother would reassure him by saying: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Lately, there’s been a surfeit of scary news: Charlottesville, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and now Las Vegas.

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Want Change In Education? Look Beyond The Usual Suspects (Like Finland)

In a tiny hamlet in Tanzania, children who have never been to school, and can’t recognize a single letter in any language, are about to start learning basic math and reading. They’ll do this with the help of a cutting-edge, artificially intelligent “tutor” who can hear what they are saying in Swahili and respond meaningfully.
In the slums of Bogota, Colombia, children play with special board games, dominoes and dice games that can teach them math and reading in a matter of months. Youth volunteers in the community help bring the games to younger children.

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A Future-Forward Look At Higher Ed

“What would it mean to redesign higher education for the intellectual space travel students need to thrive in the world we live in now?”
That’s one of the provocative questions that opens Cathy Davidson’s latest book, The New Education. And unlike some of the journalists and business figures who have taken previous swings at that pinata, Davidson has a full career of research and practice to inform her abundance of answers.

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What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Social And Emotional Skills’?

More and more, people in education agree on the importance of schools’ paying attention to stuff other than academics.
But still, no one agrees on what to call that “stuff.”
I originally published a story on this topic two years ago.
As I reported back then, there were a bunch of overlapping terms in play, from “character” to “grit” to “noncognitive skills.”

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AP Computer Science Principles Attract Diverse Students With Real-World Problems

U.S. high schools got a high-tech update this past school year. Not by federal fiat or by state law, but largely at the hand of independent nonprofits, including one founded by twin brothers less than five years ago.

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Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp?

“It beeped in the envelope. That’s how we knew.”
Leslie Conrad is the director of Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, S.C., which runs several different camps during the summer. Clemson bans cellphones and other electronic devices for campers.
That makes sense. We traditionally think of summer camp as a place to swim in the lake and weave friendship bracelets, not text and play video games.

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Study: Holding Kids Back A Grade Doesn’t Necessarily Hold Them Back

Our education system has this funny quirk of grouping kids by birth date — rather than, say, intellectual ability or achievement or interest.
But developmental pathways are as individual as kids themselves.
And so there’s a perpetual back-and-forth about whether to put certain kids in school a grade behind or ahead of their actual age.

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How Schools Use Brain Science To Help Traumatized Kids Heal and Learn

Neuroscience isn’t on many elementary school lesson plans. But this spring, a second grade class at Fairmont Neighborhood School in the South Bronx is plunging in.
Sarah Wechsler, an instructional coach with wide eyes and a marathoner’s energy, asks the students to think about the development and progress that they’ve made already in their lives.

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The Role Of Yoga In Healing Trauma

Missy Hart grew up in Redwood City, Calif. — in gangs, on the street, in the foster care system and in institutions.
“Where I’m from,” the 26-year-old says, “you’re constantly in alert mode, like fight or flight.”
But at age 13, when she was incarcerated in juvenile hall for using marijuana, she found herself closing her eyes and letting her guard down in a room full of rival gang members.

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